It’s ten years after the events of 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the apes have created their own civilization with Caesar (Andy Serkis) as the ruler.
The film begins in the forest at the apes’ compound where Caeser, Maurice (Karin Konoval) and several others are discussing whatever happened to the fate of humans, having not seen one for a couple of years. Of course, the next scene is of two more apes, Blue Eyes (son of Caesar, played by Nick Thurston) and Ash (Doc Shaw) encountering a human, where one of them shoots Ash. And thus begins the new rivalry between human and ape.
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes excellently shows off the post-collapse of human civilization as we are witness to what could be the last remaining humans near what used to be San Francisco in their attempt to rebuild humanity with what little they have. In this film, a team has set out to restore electricity by repairing a nearby dam led by Malcolm (Jason Clarke). Unfortunately for them, the dam is on ape territory and is the reason they meet again.
But the story takes a turn away from the predictable human vs. ape that I personally expected and after the first film, I really should have known better than to think so. Both human and ape are practically mirror-imaged in how they view each other with Malcolm, his wife Ellie (Keri Russell) and son Alexander (Kodi Smit-McPhee) as the primary connection points in communicating with the apes, mainly Caeser. The CGI lets the movie feel real where each ape is easily distinguishable and emotive, right up to the final riveting shot where the story leaves so much room for further development for the next instalment.
This Apes film is thrilling with a storyline that leaves you somewhat conflicted on whether you should even be taking sides, or if there even are sides to take. Like the first one, it goes beyond being just an action movie by serving up so much more underneath that it’s an all around great piece of visual entertainment.